Sony’s strong performance in the back half of 2009 has raised some interesting discussions in the world of gaming. In addition to the general feeling of smugness among Sony’s die-hard fans it has caused many, presumably sane, people to start talking absolute rubbish.
I read an editorial piece this afternoon on a well known gaming website (I won’t give it the traffic here but if you follow my Twitter feed you may have seen me tweet it earlier) in which a games writer was talking about how he had initially abandoned the PlayStation when the original Xbox was launched because he felt the energy that Microsoft brought to the world of console gaming was refreshing. Fair enough, that’s a personal choice that each person makes based on their emotional affiliations, intellectual abilities and brand loyalties (financial means will also play a part, possibly the most important).
The writer in question then went on to say that for years he was happy he’d made the right decision because the Xbox and its successor had clearly been the only sensible choice for the hardcore gamers. This is where his vaguely interesting ramble lost its grip on reality. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone could reasonably argue that the PlayStation brand is the dominant force it once was in console gaming but to claim that it had been in the wilderness with gaming fans for so long would be like saying that nobody supports Liverpool FC because they haven’t won the league for a while. They still play a good game and they can still beat anybody on their day. I love analogies, especially clichéd football ones!
Anyway, to cut a long story short the writer has since bought a PlayStation 3 and is now enjoying what he seems to think is a completely decadent, “unnecessary”, lifestyle in which he owns both HD consoles. I always thought that in order to get the fullest experience of gaming in modern times you needed to own both HD consoles (and that’s just without clouding the argument with handhelds, PC gaming and this generation’s most successful home console – the Wii).
Presumably in his one-console history he never felt the desire to play any PlayStation exclusives. That may be the case but can you really say that someone is getting the fullest experience of gaming if they never played Uncharted, Killzone 2, inFamous, LittleBigPlanet, Metal Gear Solid 4 et al? Likewise, if you only owned PlayStation can you honestly say that you’re getting everything out of gaming? You’ve never felt the urge to play Halo 3, Fable 2, Gears of War, Crackdown or Forza?
What about if you had been an unapologetic single brand gamer forever, if you’d chosen Sega in the early ‘90s you would have missed the best Mario had to offer, both on platforms and in karts. Choose Nintendo in the late nineties and you’ve completely missed Final Fantasy VII. Surely, in order to have a complete experience of what gaming has to offer you would need access to all possible platforms? Of course, most people have financial and time constraints and owning several consoles is certainly a luxury but can we say that it’s totally unnecessary?
What about you, what consoles do you have and are there any that you feel you can totally discount from future consideration? Are you a die-hard PlayStation fan that has deeply-submerged urges to play Forza or Halo? Perhaps you love your 360 to bits but would like to see what it was that made Uncharted 2 a widespread Game of the Year? I’d love to hear your thoughts but please try to keep the discussion sensible, nobody likes a fanboy!